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Garden Shed Makeover

After a housebound year with four boys (two of them growing teens, one with a waggy tail, and all with an insatiable appetite), I was desperately craving a change of atmosphere and little retreat of my own that was comfortable, quiet, and removed from the constant bellows of “I’m hungry”, “I’m bored”, and “I’m still hungry”.  Since lockdown foiled any hopes of a spring cottage getaway this year, I decided to bring the cottage to my backyard by transforming our cluttered, underutilizes shed into a private garden escape.




I had a dream of transforming the space into a multi-purpose retreat complete with a workbench to dabble with the occasional gardening and DIY project, a quaint sitting area where I could put my feet up to relax, and I also needed to incorporate a stylish storage solution to stash necessary tools and yard equipment.  After removing everything that had been cluttering up the shed for years, we quickly realized that we didn’t even know we owned the majority of items that had accumulated inside, let alone used them.  We were able to sell and donate most, and the remaining were relocated to our garage.  So with an empty, blank canvas space, I was ready to start bringing my dream to life.


My main goal for the space was to make it feel like an extension of our home.  But as with all of my design projects, I was determined to achieve my champagne dreams with only a modest root beer budget, so I quickly rolled up my sleeves and prepared to work some DIY magic.    









Since the shed isn’t climatized, I needed to come up with a solution to clad the uneven studs that was practical, durable, and of course, affordable.  I started by installing 1/8” thick hardboard in 4’x8’ sheets over the studs to create a sturdy backer board, and then made my own faux shiplap panels by cutting the same material into 8” wide strips on my table saw.  I then installed the panels over the backer board with vertical construction adhesive and a pin nailer, and sealed all the surfaces with Zinsser Perma White which protects moisture prone areas such as the shed and is formulated specifically to prevent mold and mildew.  I sprayed the same paint & primer finish on the ceiling rafters, and the end result was a bright, fresh, modern interior for a tenth of the cost of traditional solid wood shiplap.  


Click HERE for instruction to create DIY faux shiplap.





For the floor, my same three criteria applied.  I wanted a finish that would be practical and easy to clean, as well as something that was budget conscious without sacrificing quality and style.  Although the existing plywood floor was filthy and oil stained, I was confident that I could transform it into something spectacular.  After a little ol’ fashion elbow grease and some KrudKutter cleaner, I filled all of the holes and seams on the plywood surface with Varathane wood filler and then primed the floor with Rust-Oleum Concrete & Garage Recoat Primer.  The grey primer itself was a huge cosmetic improvement, but my final step was to apply RockSolid, a DIY-friendly coating that is 20x stronger than epoxy.  Not only is it extremely durable, but the high gloss finish paired with the the midnight black mica pigment gave the floor a sophisticated sparkle and made them look showroom worthy even on a budget.


Click HERE for RockSolid floor application instructions. 





Finding a ready-made stylish storage solution that could house all of our gardening tools while also fitting the garden flora vibe of the space proved to be challenging.  So when in doubt, DIY!  I went on the hunt for a closed door armoire or cupboard that could be customized with colour, and found the perfect secondhand find from an online liquidator.  A once boring greige metal office cabinet got a fresh coat of glossy green Tremclad paint that is designed specifically for metal surfaces, and with all of the shelves removed from inside, it became the perfectly practical place to store rakes, shovels, tools and more.  


Click HERE for DIY metal cabinet instructions.






Adding a functional workbench to the space was a priority, but I was eager to find something that would strike a balance between a modern and rustic aesthetic.  I didn’t want a work surface that was too precious and would show every little scratch or scrape, so I married the clean lines of two white IKEA a-frame desk legs with a DIY distressed pine plank tabletop.  By using three inexpensive pine boards joined together with wood glue and metal mending plates, I then distressed the top with a wire brush before coating with Sun Bleached Varathane stain.  The secret ingredient to create the weather look was adding a black Wood Grain Enhancer to accentuate the distressing, and with a top coat of clear Triple Thick to seal and protect the surface, the desktop was a quick and easy way to add a lot of customized character.


Click HERE for how-to instruction to create the barnboard workbench.







Taking cues from nature, I created a simple DIY collage art wall featuring blooms straight from the garden.  After drying and pressing various flowers and leaves, I displayed them in simple frames that each got a splash of colour with Painter’s Touch green spray paint.  And to add a sprinkle of pattern to the space, I applied a floral stencil pattern to a few of the photo mats with a foam brush and Chalked paint in “Sensible Sage”.  Finally, I removed the glass and mat from a large IKEA frame, cut a piece of inexpensive pegboard to fit inside, painted it with leftover wall paint, and then hung it over the workbench for a simple yet chic place to display small  hand tools.


Click HERE for instruction to create the DIY painted frames and stencilled mats.




From stud-to-shiplap walls, stained-to-sparkly floors, and a greige-to-green cabinet, my little shed that was once a graveyard for clutter has now become the perfect cottage escape just a few steps from home.



Get the look…




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